Finding The Right Literary Agent – In this post I will help make the search less painful and more effective. If you follow the steps, you will improve your chances of attracting an agent who is looking for books like you (and knows how to sell them).
This is the same technique that has helped many of my clients get ignored by agents and get text inquiries all the time.
Finding The Right Literary Agent
I’m going to cover a ton in this post, so to help you navigate through it, here’s a quick overview of what I’m going to go over. Under each section I will explain in detail how to do the process.
Byrd Leavell Discusses Key Strategies For Finding The Right Literary Agent
Why You Need an Estimate Before Asking an Agent Getting a book agent isn’t just a numbers game.
They put their heart and soul—not to mention months or years of their time—into their book and it’s scary. They are embarrassed to share with their friends and family that their dream of becoming a writer is not possible.
When I ask these authors about their scare strategies, they often describe a variation of the shotgun approach.
I have that. We’ve all been told “it’s just a numbers game” or “you have to knock on a lot of doors.” It makes sense that if you send enough questions, eventually someone will suffer. If only they knew how big a problem they would be if they started sending personalized query letters to users who like and sell books like theirs (other in my post How to write a query letter).
Love Under Contract
I’m seriously thinking about this…except for hunting birds in the woods, would you use indiscriminate, minimal effort in any other part of your life?
Dating and marriage is a good analogy. When you’re looking for love, you’re told you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find The One.
Have you ever been stalked online? I have. Years ago I used Match.com (which offers a lot of frogs but ultimately leads to happy marriages and modern love stories that were the first NY Times byline).
However, most of the guys at the match send a clear cut-and-paste job. Her message will say something like, “Hey, I like what you said on your profile. We have a lot in common. Let’s get together.”
Steps To Getting A Literary Agent
Ummmm, what do you like about my profile? What do we have in common? If you send a thousand duplicate emails without even bothering to learn the first thing about me or any of the other women, you are either too demanding or way too much of a player. Delete.
Similarly, when I was a newspaper editor, I often read interview letters from freelance writers and editors. They obviously know nothing about our magazine, the sections I edit or our readers.
How long do I think I’ve been thinking about these questions? About as long as they thought what our magazine published. None at all.
If they had organized their articles in a way that suited our magazine or interested our readers, I might have given them attention, or at least, I would have thought to respond in a respectful, organized way. (I say
How To Find A Literary Agent For Your Book
Because emails fall through the cracks. I’ll show you how to do that later in this post.)
But, when I first started looking for a job, I did the same thing. Now I want to make sure you don’t do the same.
Remember this when calling agents: Don’t be a creepy internet guy. Become an expert by hiring the right agents, the right way.
By following these steps, you’ll maximize your efforts by targeting only users you know are a great match for you and your book.
Scouting: How Editors Can Find New Voices In Literature
This will make these procedures a million easier and more effective. At the basic level, before you are ready to write your question or identify agents, you should know your type and subtype, if applicable.
For example, if your book involves a murder, ask yourself if it is a thriller, a beautiful mystery, a noir, or if it is historical fiction, or a high-profile business story, or a novel, etc.
Although marketing forms can be tedious and frustrating, they can also help you find research staff who represent books like yours.
It will be better if you understand your book on a deeper level. Let’s go beyond the category and get down to some of the other features of your book.
Literary Agents: The Fairy Godparents Of Publishing
Designing your resume well will make it easier to identify the right employees when you meet them. If you look at the books they have sold, you can compare them to your own books.
For example, if I am still looking for a representative for Love me, I will find someone who represents a lot of dark fiction, funny and borderline between literature and business, I will be happy.
Selling books and traveling or something international I do some little cartwheels (no, I can’t do anymore) and put that person at the top of my list.
Even if I see an agent representing serious literary fiction or, on the other end of the spectrum, women’s fiction with a happy candy ending, I wouldn’t expect us to click.
Best Literary Agents For New Authors
Even if there are thousands of users, the majority will not enter (or are not good at selling) your type of book.
You will increase your chances with a laser target list of 25-50 to a max of 100 users who have sold books like yours.
I’m talking about books like yours not only in style, but also in things like tone or theme or style. Nina Revoyr and Sue Grafton wrote the best crime novels, but the world is different in style.
Book (infinitely less time and money than one represents) you carefully delineate what will happen on your bookshelf.
Finding The Right Literary Agent — Literary Agent Mark Gottlieb
So instead of mentioning anyone who sounds like a good fit, I want you to look at agents’ sales records, their websites, their interviews, their profiles, and find candidates who are just as good as yours.
Let’s say your book is funny and inspiring. In that case, you don’t need to waste time and emotional energy users on their list full of dark, literary, political news. And you want your question to have a funny and exciting tone to attract the right people, which means they will convert.
Publisher’s Marketplace: To begin your research, I urge you to invest in the publisher’s marketplace so that you can check the sales records of potential users.
Yes, it’s $25 per month, but you can cancel at any time, making a reasonable investment. There is no better way for research workers.
Literary Agents Actively Seeking Writers And Their Writing
In addition, you will receive emails with their daily reviews, which will teach you a lot about the publishing industry. What’s especially fun is seeing all the original magazines being sold – a sign that people like you are getting published!
The downside of this site is that it doesn’t offer many scripts to help you narrow down your search, so sifting through it can be a long drag. It is the most complete site, but not the most functional.
Writer’s Digest: Chuck Sambuchino’s blog, A Guide to Book Agents, is always recruiting new contributors, as well as staff currently looking for space. It publishes questions that work, interviews with authors (including me!), about how they reach their users, and many other publishing gems.
But, it’s not a systematic way to find employees, so I don’t recommend starting there. I tend to come back to it after you get the first list and develop a better understanding of what you are looking for.
How To Get A Literary Agent (if You Actually Need One)
Script Wish List: This started as a Twitter hashtag where users commented on ideas they would like to see. Now there is also a website with a good list of agents.
While it doesn’t have anywhere near the number of users as other sites, it’s a fantastic resource, and the profiles are there for a reason – they want pitches from new writers.
The only downside is that there is so much information that it is not a good place to start.
You have a solid first list. It helps you get to know the names you already have and helps you add new names when you get a good feel for what you’re looking for.
The Book Stewards
Listen – if getting to know each employee seems like a lot of work, remember the time and effort you are asking the employee to put in.
If you expect others to think more about your book than you do, you won’t make it in this business.
If you don’t know how to get good information and good reps, that’s okay. Get my list of the 107 best companies in the Epic Guide to Publishers and Literary Companies. Check it out!
It helps a lot if you tell the employer why you did it
How I Got My Agent
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